WINDHOEK: The review and revision of the National Co-operatives Policy and Co-operatives Act (Act 23 of 1996), which could also see possible amendments made to the Act, is at an advanced stage.
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa said at a media conference on Wednesday that draft reports with appropriate recommendations highlighting the proposed policy, and legislative amendments or changes should be submitted to him for further consideration by 31 January 2013.
“Special attention must henceforth be focused on the completion of any such envisaged policy review and/or legislative amendments. Wide consultations must also be held with different but relevant stakeholders with the co-operative movement, government, private sector, non-governmental organisations as well as women and youth organisations during the said process of policy review and/or legislative amendments,” he noted.
According to Mutorwa, popularisation of both the Co-operative Policy and Co-operatives Act, 1996 to the relevant stakeholders should be done at regular intervals. Where practically and financially possible, translations and simplification of both the policy and legislation into some local languages may be facilitated and implemented.
Competent consultant(s), preferably local, should be engaged and appointed to assist and guide the review process. The ministry’s Directorate of Planning and Marketing; the Co-operatives Advisory Board and the Office of the Registrar of Co-operatives are directed to be in charge of the whole review process, including drafting of terms of reference for the consultant(s).
Mutorwa advised that intensified and focused efforts should specifically be placed on building strong foundation or primary co-operatives in Namibia, which eventually and naturally must culminate into a national co-operative umbrella body or federation. He suggested names such as the Namibia Federation of Co-operatives or Co-operatives Federation of Namibia (COFNA).
The secretariat of such an envisaged national co-operative umbrella organisation might then be called the Namibia Co-operatives Development Agency or Co-operative Development Agency of Namibia.
Mutorwa also gave feedback about the major decisions taken at the 10th International Co-operatives Alliance (ICA) Africa conference, which took place in Kigali, Rwanda from 22 to 24 October 2012.
Held under the theme “Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better Africa” the event was attended by more than 100 delegates from most parts of Africa.
Mutorwa said Namibia is expected and should be able to report significant and visible progress in this regard at the 11th ICA-Africa Co-operative Ministerial conference to be held in Gaborone, Botswana in 2015.
According to the joint communique issued after the event, efforts are ongoing to achieve further progress in implementing the recommendations set out in 2009, particularly in the areas of policy and legal reforms, as well as co-operative finance, human resource development and that further efforts and action are still required especially in the areas of gender, research, regional integration, HIV/AIDS, youth, strengthening national structures, engagement on regional integration bodies and economic blocs, capacitating of ICA regional office and information and communication technology.